Because the 12 bottles of wine we bought for the cabin yesterday just weren’t enough, we spent the afternoon sampling the local alcohol. I’ve never had Colorado wine before. And now I can understand why.
First up, we went to Valley of the Wind Winery in Estes Park, where we selected five wines each for $5 (we’re not in New York anymore). Most were named after animals and their bottles came with accompanying gaudy stickers. And unfortunately, they were pretty terrible.
Each of the wines tasted like juice – they were so sweet. While I could never drink a full glass of the stuff, I do think a splash would be delicious with some soda water and ice on a hot day. Which is probably not what the winery is going for.
Ah well, onwards! This time around the corner to Snowy Peaks Winery. Five tasters were just $3 here, and I went for a much wider selection – and was much happier with the wines. In particular, the Malbec and the Riesling. And even though I know it might not have been the time nor the place, I tried a local cider called Grasshop-ah which was so light and flowery and delicious. So delicious that I had another full glass. Needless to say, by this point the alcohol + altitude was taking effect.
At this winery, the lovely staff agreed to give us a tour of the small process room downstairs. Unlike the Valley of the Wind, which gets its grapes in California and makes the wine down the road in Loveland, this winery uses grapes from Western Colorado and makes the wine on site.
And the room was surprisingly small, making the process look easy. There were presses for the grapes, wooden barrels where the liquid would be left to ferment for a year, and machines to bottle and cork the wines.
After an extended stay at Snowy Peaks, we took off – with Hillary, Rory, Jane and I walking back – and stumbling upon the Estes Park Brewery on the way home. Despite our day of drinking, we couldn’t resist and went inside (let’s look at it as completing our Colorado alcohol education). We picked up a selection for the others back at the cabin, and tried some for ourselves, agreeing that the Honey Beer was the most delicious.
And then somehow, we made it back home. Where we proceeded to chat/slur about rubbish in the hot tub for several hours.